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Video: Rare bird released after hitting ferry near Horseshoe Bay

This is just the second red-necked phalarope treated by the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC in nine years

Humans aren’t the only animals hitting a wall with BC Ferries these days.

A rare bird was recovered by some helpful citizens after flying into a window on a ferry as it was arriving in Horseshoe Bay late in the evening on Aug. 10.

According to the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC, the citizens knew about the organization and brought the juvenile red-necked phalarope to the after-hours shed at its support centre in Burnaby around 10:30 p.m. that night.

At the centre, staff determined the bird was likely just stunned, but kept it overnight for observation.

By the next day, “It was definitely ready to go,” explained support centre co-ordinator Aiden Stephens. It was taken back to West Vancouver to be released in Whytecliff Park, which is close to where it was found in Horseshoe Bay.

Rare bird alert

Phalaropes are sea birds, meaning they’re usually only spotted miles off-shore, Wildlife Rescue support centre lead Jackie McQuillan said in a statement.

“They typically only come to land to breed, so it was quite unexpected to see a juvenile come into our admissions centre,” she said.

Phalaropes breed in the arctic, then fly south of the equator in the winter, with some of their migratory routes bringing them down the Pacific Coast.

Wildlife Rescue sees roughly 6,000 animals a year, 95 per cent of them birds. This is just the second red-necked phalarope staff have treated since 2013, making it an exceptionally rare visit.

If you come across a bird or other animal in distress, communications co-ordinator Tayelor Martin says first to call the support centre at 604-526-7275. People rescuing birds should avoid making contact with their skin, and put the animal in an appropriately sized box that’s dark and has soft sides.

Wildlife Rescue is a non-profit organization that relies on donations to provide care for animals that are injured, orphaned or hurt by pollution. You can make a donation on its website.

red-necked phalarope handled by Wildlife Rescue staff

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